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As a precaution against the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Internet Watch Foundation will be operating at a reduced capacity. We provide a vital service for the public and are committed to staying open but there is likely to be a delay responding to reports, emails and calls. People can still report child sexual abuse imagery as normal here.

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Statement: In response to the Home Office announcement on IWF online child sexual abuse imagery data collection

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Susie Hargreaves OBE, CEO of the IWF, says: “We are delighted that the Home Office has asked us to provide data to explore how legitimate advertisers are being exploited by offenders, intent on sharing horrific imagery of child sexual abuse online.

“Our Analysts picked up this issue, through their work to identify and remove illegal images of children online. Using a variety of sophisticated techniques to avoid detection, offenders are exploiting online advertising networks to monetise their distribution of child sexual abuse material. Put simply, these criminals are finding ever more high-tech ways of making money out of the suffering of child victims. 

“By asking us to provide data on this complex area, the Home Secretary will be helping us identify the scale of the problem, which we can then work together with industry, police and government to tackle. 

“At the heart of all our work, are the child victims of this hideous crime. They range from babies to teens. The abuse itself is horrific, but by sharing the images and videos of these crimes against innocent children, offenders are forcing the victims to suffer the torment of knowing their abuse continues.

“It is our mission to identify the methods offenders are employing to share this disturbing material, enabling us to most effectively disrupt its distribution. We hope this research will help us in this battle.”

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